Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Today’s planned schedule is exactly the same as yesterday’s, so this may be a relatively short post.

Chapati and Fruit Loop tea for chai. The place is pretty quiet. We pay attention to greeting the staff; the kids all say “Shikamoo” and I wait for a “Shikamoo” when the person is younger than I am. If I don’t get it, I say “Habari asubuhi?” (How’s the morning?) or “Hu jambo?” (How are things?) or sometimes just “Good morning!” in actual English. The staff encourages the children to practice their English on us, so I don’t expect “Shikamoo” from them; a simple “Good morning, Dr. Dan!” is what they usually say.

Amber’s name apparently sounds like the Swahili word for mango, so the kids have taken to calling her “Mango,” with the British pronunciation “MAHN goh.” We occasionally find ourselves doing the same thing.

Swahili at 11:30. We’re getting deeper into details and approaching the “Aaaaaaggggghhhhh!” overload stage. Adjectives, including demonstratives, all have to conform to their nouns, which have all those different classes, with different forms for singular and plural. I see eyes glazing over. We finish the lesson with the basics for shopping, including numbers.

Lunch with Beth and Rachelle—shepherd’s pie and sliced cucumbers. Gershon, to the astonishment of everyone, eats his vegetables. Usually he sorts the little bits of pepper or onion out of, say, the fried rice, looking like a hibachi chef as he deftly sets them aside. Today he eats green beans and carrots mixed into the shepherd’s pie. We finish the meal with a round of applause for him.

The afternoon is another work session preparing for Friday’s start of tutoring sessions. Some are done; some are wrapping up; some are gritting their teeth and toughing it out. They select whatever handouts they’ll need; Rachelle makes a master copy of each; tomorrow we’ll take the masters into town for duplication for the students. So it all needs to be done today.

Dinner is ugali and a fried fish not-quite-filet—it’s the same cut of meat, but it has a few large bones in it that are no problem to pick out. One of our girls doesn’t like fish, and she doesn’t like putting her hands in her food. So it’s a challenge for her, but she gets it done.

Same groups for devotions; with the boys, Amber gives the devotional on the Lord’s care for us. The boys seem to listen reasonably well, though you never really know.

We get some wi-fi time at 8, and a couple of team members place VOIP calls successfully at the same time. So that’s a good indicator for future bandwidth considerations.

Team devotions are brief—we’re all tired, perhaps still feeling the effects of the flight over, perhaps just needing more sleep here. The guys head back to their dorm before 10, and we all cave in.

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Dan Olinger

Chair, Division of Bible in the BJU School of Religion.

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